By Dr. Jessica Ruiz, Director of Behavioral Health Associates of Broward, Counseling Centers of Goodman JFS

In the wake of reports of two celebrity deaths by suicide this week, behavioral health specialists are ramping up their efforts to increase suicide awareness in their communities. On Wednesday, June 5th 2018, fashion designer, Kate Spade was reported to have died by suicide. Just three days later, celebrity chef, author and television personality, Anthony Bourdain is suspected to have also taken his life. While it is still unclear which factors led to their final decision, Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths have joined the ever-increasing statistics of suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a 25% increase in suicides from 1999 to 2016 with some U.S. states demonstrating a 30% increase in suicides. Florida’s Vital Statistics (2016) show suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in Florida indicating a need to increase awareness and resources to improve prevention efforts. Suicide is a serious, but preventable public health concern.

Suicidal Thoughts—Not So Uncommon

If you or someone you know has experienced suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Suicidal ideation often occurs in the presence of behavioral health conditions such as major depressive disorders, bi-polar related disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder. These thoughts can also be triggered by situational stressors including loss of a loved one, unemployment, dissolution of a relationship, or learning about a serious medical illness. In the 2016 National Survey of Drugs Use and Health, over 9.8 million adults reported seriously thinking about killing themselves, 2.8 million reported making a plan and 1.3 million reported making a non-fatal attempt.  These high prevalence rates indicate that suicidality is more common than most people think.  Stigma related to mental illness and suicide often leads people to suffer alone in silence. Breaking the silence and reaching out for help can literally save lives. There is no need to go at it alone.

Serious Warning Signs (adapted from

• Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or feeling isolated
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Displaying extreme mood swings

The following signs should prompt you to immediately reach out for professional assistance by calling the National Suicide Prevention Life-Line 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or a behavioral health professional

• Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
• Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live


There are several national and local resources available to you and your loved ones. You are not alone.

• National Suicide Prevention Life-Line 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Broward 211
• Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition
• Suicide Prevention Resource Center
• Behavioral Health Associates of Broward, Counseling Centers for Goodman JFS (954) 909-0888.

Jessica J. Ruiz, Psy.D. is Chief Psychologist & Director of Clinical Training for Behavioral Health Associates of Broward, Counseling Centers of Goodman JFS. She earned her doctorate in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University and completed her pre- and post-doctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. BHAB’s offices are conveniently located in Coral Springs/Parkland and Davie. For information or an appointment, call:(954) 909-0888


Behavioral Health Associates of Broward, Counseling Centers of Goodman JFS, (BHAB) has been providing compassionate, high quality, confidential counseling since 1962. Our caring therapists provide counseling for individuals, couples and families regardless of race, religion, culture or sexual orientation. BHAB offers comprehensive psychological services as well as psychological testing and evaluation in our new, modern, secure and confidential offices located in both Davie and Coral Springs/Parkland.